Sometimes we put God in a box. We have our perception of truth and we try to hold Him to it. This can not only bring about misinterpretation and false beliefs, but it can also cause frustration with God and His Word. The truth is, our perception of the truth may have nothing to do with God’s actual purpose.
The Bible gives a great example of this in Mark 8:27-29:
And Jesus went out, and his disciples, into the towns of Cæsarea Philippi: and by the way he asked his disciples, saying unto them, Whom do men say that I am? And they answered, John the Baptist: but some say, Elias; and others, One of the prophets. And he saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Peter answereth and saith unto him, Thou art the Christ.
The people of the time had several different theories of who Jesus really was, but God revealed the truth through Peter that Jesus was the Christ. This is an amazing revelation. Imagine being a Jewish person at that time waiting for the Christ, the Messiah. If you found out He had come, you would want to tell everyone the good news. But let’s look at how Jesus responded in Matthew 16:20, “Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.”
Ummm. Well that doesn’t make sense, does it? This is awesome, exciting news. The Messiah has come! Why wouldn’t Jesus want His disciples to tell people that He was the Messiah? I’ve read this passage many times in the past, and it’s always bothered me. As Christians today, we are called to tell the world that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah. Why would Jesus tell His disciples not to do the very thing we are supposed to do?
“Lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).Click to tweet
Well, you see, I have been putting my modern perspective in place of God’s purpose. Let’s continue in Matthew 16:21-22 to see what happens next:
From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.
God just revealed the truth through Peter that Jesus was the Messiah, but even Peter didn’t understand what that truly meant. The Jewish people at that time were waiting for the Messiah, but not the kind of Messiah Jesus actually was. They were looking for a savior who would bring victory – political victory, economic victory, the victory of a king at war. They weren’t expecting a suffering Messiah who would die for them. That’s why Jesus commanded His disciples not to reveal He was the Messiah.
The Jewish perspective of the was wrong. If they knew Jesus was the Messiah, they would focus on what they thought He should be doing rather than on what Jesus actually came to do. Peter proves it. He actively rebuked Jesus for saying He would have to die. Think about that for a moment. He’s rebuking the man he just said was the Messiah! Peter wanted Jesus to fit his perspective of the Messiah rather than God’s purpose for the Messiah.
So how did Jesus respond? He “turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men” (Matthew 16:23). There it is, right there in Jesus’s own words. Peter was looking from man’s perspective and man’s desire but not the perspective of God and His purpose.
Brother, how often are you like Peter? How often do you put God in a box of your own understanding? I’m very guilty of that myself. I often find fault in Scripture because I’m looking at it through my own perspective rather than through God’s. When I repent, accept His Word as truth, and look for His purpose, then I gain a whole new and deeper understanding of His Word.
Let’s not put God in a box of our own making. Instead, “lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Family Radio Staff